The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said India’s request to extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik is under the “active consideration” of Malaysian authorities.
“We had made a formal request for the extradition of Zakir Naik, who is an Indian national living in Malaysia, as per the extradition treaty we have with Malaysian side,” said the ministry’s spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in response to a query on Naik’s extradition. “Our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is in regular touch with relevant Malaysian authorities in this regard.”
On Wednesday, Naik said he will not return to India till he feels “safe from unfair prosecution”. His statement came amid reports that he will be deported to India. “The news of my coming to India is totally baseless and false,” Naik added.
Inspector-General of the Royal Malaysia Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also refuted reports of Naik’s deportation. He said his forces would not attempt to deport Naik, “but I can’t speak for other enforcement agencies”.
In November, the Ministry of External Affairs said the Indian government would make a formal request asking Malaysia to extradite Naik.
Naik has been under investigation since 2016, when the Centre banned his Islamic Research Foundation for five years. Indian security agencies have been monitoring Naik ever since allegations surfaced that he had inspired one of the militants behind the Dhaka restaurant attack on July 1, 2016.